Hamas official: We're not interested in an escalation

Senior Hamas official says war with Israel not imminent, but group is taking "the necessary precautions".

Elad Benari ,

Hamas terrorist
Hamas terrorist
Flash 90

Hamas does not believe a military conflict with Israel is imminent, a senior member of the terrorist group said on Monday night.

The senior Hamas member was interviewed by the Turkish Anadolu news agency and the comments were quoted by Israel's Channel 10 News.

Asked whether he believes Israel would launch a war in Gaza anytime soon, the unnamed official opined that this scenario was "unreasonable".

He added that "Hamas has taken all the necessary precautions in parallel with the maneuvers carried out by the Israeli occupation now, taking into account any irresponsible behavior."

He concluded by stressing that the organization "is not interested in any escalation against Israel."

The comments came a day after IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot predicted at Sunday's cabinet meeting that a new conflict between Israel and Hamas was likely in 2018.

According to Eizenkot, a severe shortage of electricity and food during the cold winter makes it increasingly likely that Hamas will seek an escalation with Israel as a way of distracting the populace from its lack of basic services.

On Sunday, Arabic-language media reported that Hamas believes that there is a 95% chance that war will break out within the next few days. The report said that Hamas has declared a state of high alert and has been massing forces near the border.